Welcome once again to our Life Enhancing Habits Blog.
It’s an invite to LEARN and if necessary make new exciting distinctions, to improve your whole quality of life.
Each month I’ll be ‘reminding’ you exactly HOW TO take further control of your environment, so you don’t become a medical statistic and you’ll enjoy the journey, because it’s FREE, BUT does involve some new changes… How wonderful ?
If you missed the Essentials Habits 1-4, you’ll find them >> here <<
Habit #5 “Get to Bed by 2200hrs”
How long do you think we’ve been getting up when the sun rises and retiring when the sun goes down? Has anything changed since we started this life preserving act? Well we now have shift work and our economy operates pretty much 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sleep however like all the previous habits blogged about is unbelievably LIFE ENHANCING.
For at least seven months of the year people in most parts of the UK, US and Canada should be sleeping between 7 – 9 ½ hours per night (undisturbed!) Reduced sleeping patterns affect the body in many ways and stop the beneficial effects of melatonin. Eating too many refined carbohydrates during any season is another factor, which has lead to an increase in cancer, CHD, Type II diabetes, obesity, etc. Read “Lights Out” 2001 by Wiley.
Below are the basic tips you can start to apply in your life today to improve your sleep quality:
- Sun up – get up
- Sun down – sleep during the winter months dim your lights two hours before bed.
- Create a regular bed time routine. If you’re used to getting into bed at 12 midnight then start at 2345 hrs for a week, then 2330hrs for the next week and then continue to knock off 15 mins each week until you reach ca 2200hrs.
- Aim for EIGHT hours of good uninterrupted sleep, allowing your brain and body to cycle through all stages of sleep three-eight times a night. REM Sleep occurs after approx. 80-90 mins of sleep. REM sleep can last as little as 5 to 10 mins, to 30+ mins.
- Power Naps – During the day (ideally between 1300-1600hrs) lasts between 10-30mins.
- Avoid bright lights including TV & Computers 1hr before bedtime (ca 2100hrs).
- Use F.Lux / Blue light glasses or a screen protection device over your iPhone and or iPad to reduce/remove all ‘Blue light’, which basically tells your photoreceptors on your skin and in your eyes that it is day time – to get up, move and your body continues to release cortisol. When cortisol is high, melatonin is low!
- Ensure your bedroom is completely dark, no light from anywhere, including your clock!
- Be at least 3 feet away from any electrical appliances
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm (½ life of between 4-6 hours depending on the efficiency of your liver to remove it!)
- Avoid alcohol (cortisol release, which is a stress hormone)
- Avoid eating high GI foods like refined carbohydrates before sleeping
- Performing deep breathing exercises to facilitate relaxation
- Reserving your bed for sleeping, rather than using it as an alternative site for working, watching T.V, or studying
- Turn your router system off at night (EMF) – This creates ‘Dirty Electricity’ which affects our body cells.
- Leave your window partially open at night. People typically sleep best when there is fresh air in the room and it’s about 60-65 degrees.
- Spending 15 to 30 minutes winding down by making excellent natural music selections. Keep the volume low enough that it’s not disruptive.
- Meditate, read or journal 30 min’s before your bedtime.
- Shower or bathe in un-chlorinated water before bed – Use some organic good quality Mg flakes. Do not use mass-market, non-organic commercial scents, oils or hygiene products on your body at night. Most of these products are loaded with toxins that elevate stress hormones.
- Supplementary support may help short term – 5-HPT, GB-Calm, Magnesium Flakes, Melatonin.
- Hard Creative Movements/Exercise – if performed during a given day, should be at least 4hrs before bed.
- Regular eating patterns – Don’t go to bed hungry because this can disturb your sleep. A good balanced snack – Chicken, turkey, cheese, eggs (if not intolerant), sprouted nuts, avocado, etc – Ensure the MACRO-NUTRIENT ratio is right for YOU.
- Mindfulness – Don’t take your problems to bed with you. Practice some form of meditation or write down some solutions to your daily challenges hours before bed.
- Consider purchasing an Earth Sheet!
In the last 50 years the average amount of sleep each night has decreased by 1.5-2hrs, from over eight hours of sleep every night to under seven. To put that into prospective, that’s equivalent to a full month of continuous sleep lost every year!
These poor sleep patterns created due to our busy, iPhone, TV, iPad leaves a significant sleep deficit that is never resolved. We all know that a lack of sleep affects our BRAINS, HORMONES, IMMUNE SYSTEM and wait for it… DRUM ROLL… It may be the SINGLE greatest contributor to chronic illness in general.
So, how important is YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE – to YOU? And all you need to do is retire by ca 2200hrs.
The incredible/amazing benefits of SLEEP:
When your brain is not able to clear out waste it accumulates and instigates inflammation and cell death. Your good sleep patterns ensure your glymphatic system removes waste from your BRAIN and good sleep means the regeneration of new tissue and cells.
As another simple reminder; sleep is a vitally important aspect which creates your WHOLE complete OPTIMAL WELLBEING! Studies show that cortisol (main human stress hormone) levels in people who are sleep deprived have a slower rate at which their body deals with cortisol between 4-9pm. It is basically six times slower than it is in people who have enough sleep. What does that mean? Basically your ‘aging’ process is increased during these hours, so a lack of sleep can not only increase your levels of cortisol making you more APPLE in shape, it will also make you age before your time!
Insulin resistance is also caused (poor blood sugar levels) by inadequate sleep. In fact, some other research showed in one study that people who managed to get four hours sleep a night over six nights, showed a pattern of insulin and glucose was nearly identical to those found in Type 2 diabetes.
We know that in healthy individuals, their levels of cortisol are at their highest during the day – Please refer to the two copies from a ‘The Lane Wellness Group’. Levels of melatonin are at their highest during the night in a ‘normal’ sleep patterned individual.
A repeated disruption of our circadian rhythms increases our risk of:
- Obesity – Lack of sleep actually makes you FAT!
- Diabetes – One doesn’t have to be over-weight/inflamed/obese to become a Type 2 diabetic!
- High Blood Pressure – Why? Because poor sleep affects our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
- Inflammation – All chronic dis-eases start with this. In fact, you can’t receive a Dr’s dis-eased label without first causing internal inflammation.
- Heart Dis-ease/CHD – Another auto-immune dis-ease (yes, that is correct and the leading cause of early death on this planet at present)
- Depression – Go figure, when a lack of sleep affects your hormones, of which there are over 63+ and they all need to be in balance!
The Neurotransmitter effect:
If you have a deficiency of both serotonin and dopamine (vital stimulating/inhibiting – both have these effects depending on their levels!) you may have a restless sleep or inability to fall asleep!
There are over 183 different neurotransmitters in our brains, however research shows that serotonin and catecholamine’s can cause the most sleep challenges, like insomnia.
Here’s an interesting FACT, over 90% of our serotonin is produced in our gut!! Wow and it’s called a neurotransmitter (Brain). That’s one reason why I call our GUT/STOMACH our FIRST Main Brain. If our gut/stomach is NOT happy, then through communications to our head brain (Vagus nerve), this too will not function optimally, which can then lead to DEPRESSION…
The most common cause of a serotonin and dopamine deficiency is poor blood sugar control! There’s a theme here and you may want to re-read Habit #4, after all, ALL DIS-EASE starts in our stomachs!!!
The Incredible POWER of Melatonin:
Many of your evening activities turning on bright lights, watching TV, computer screen, iPhones/iPads, etc, stimulate our head brain, body and whole nervous system, which lowers or stops the essential production of another vital neurotransmitter (released from our Pineal gland in the centre of our head brain) – MELATONIN.
This hormone doesn’t simply help us to fall asleep and control our sleep – wake cycle, but it is known to have many actions which are fundamental to our health during our waking hours too. Once again check out the two ‘Circadian Sleep Patterns’, one which shows what a ‘Normal’ one should look like and the other, which is ‘Disruptive’ due to our Stressed states of mind, poor eating, sleeping patterns, etc. Which one does your body follow?
A quick reminder that MELATONIN is essential within our immune system, as it is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and a cancer – protective agent, which also ensures energy production within our MITOCHONDRIA. WOW, I hear you say!! Basically, there should be in a young healthy individual over 5000 mitochondria in ONE SINGLE HEART CELL. Yes, there are thousands and thousands of heart cells in our hearts, however they also exist just as importantly in our muscle cells too…. And more…
Some research in Canada back in 2005, showed that breast cancer in women was increasing due to ‘light’ conditions. These women were not sleeping in a completely darkened room. Light will reduce your bodies melatonin release and will stress your adrenals.
On a ‘lighter’ note, you’ll also notice an incredible difference in your child’s behaviour if they get to bed much earlier than you (2 hours earlier). Up to age 10, a child should be sleeping between 10 -12 hours each night.
My hope is, the above reminders have inspired you to become more mindful about the importance of YOUR sleep/wake cycles, and if necessary make the new exciting changes, to bring more HARMONY and BALANCE back into your life.
NB: When working with clients, I often remind them that if they didn’t sleep and or eat correctly, then don’t even think about having a hard core ‘work out’ or creative movement session that day!
NEXT MONTH: Habit #6 “Undertake Creative Movements daily” Any old fool can ‘work out’, but what about ‘working in’ creative movements. When I first work with inflamed, over weight and or obese individuals they DO NOT ‘work Out’ in order to release their excess weight (as a ‘side effect’ to becoming healThy!) they all do daily ‘Working In’ movements….. More exciting reminders to follow next month.
With love and gratitude